Thursday, November 05, 2015

Addressing Homelessness In Costa Mesa

As some who follow this issue closely may know, a couple years ago the City of Costa Mesa formed a Homeless Task Force, which threw itself headlong into the growing issue of homelessness in our city.  Public meetings were held, the definition of a "Costa Mesa homeless person" was created and outreach to faith-based organizations were established.

Then, that organization - which had a significant public input element - morphed into something called the Network For Homeless Solutions, which is a closely-held group within City Hall that continues to attempt to conjure up solutions to the problem of homelessness in the city.  Unfortunately, based on a conversation I had with Assistant Chief Executive Officer Rick Francis - the city's extremely capable point man on this issue - it's not possible for a resident to participate in the group.  I know... seems strange, doesn't it, to exclude members of the public who are actually experiencing, first hand, the impact of the homeless folks in our city?  But, that's the way it is.

Anyhow, there is now available on the city web site, HERE, a full array of information on this group, with links to helpful bits of information.  Nowhere does it say how one can join the group, only how to volunteer or donate to other groups working the issue.

In the meantime, we demolish picnic pavilions (Lions Park) remove picnic tables and lock restrooms (Wilson Park) and remove covered bus benches throughout the city.  Those activities can only be interpreted as being designed to make homeless folks even more uncomfortable than they already have been.  If the goal is to drive them out of town, it may well on the way to succeeding.

And, in an ironic twist, the City Council just approved demolishing the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, which will almost certainly result in more folks residing in our city being forced out onto the streets, into their cars or seeking shelter wherever they can.  We live in strange times.

Now, don't misunderstand me... homeless is a HUGE problem and, clearly, not one easily solved.  As has been said more than once - the solution to homelessness is a home - but there's no evidence that this city is doing anything toward that goal... we're treating symptoms, not the malady.

However, at the last council meeting - the one that ran until 1 a.m. and in which we spent most of the time talking about the demise of the Costa Mesa Motor Inn and, tangentially, the loss of around 50 affordable housing units - at the 4:18:00 on the video HERE, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer began a nearly fifteen minute rant, telling us we didn't understand about financing affordable housing, that he'd done it while on the Orange County Housing Commission and on the board of Mercy House, so we should shape up and shut up because HE - the royal HE - was going to fix it!

He told us that HE is going to put on the ballot next year a $20 million bond which was, theoretically, going to facilitate the creation of affordable housing in the city!  Yep, he's going to ask us to give him twenty million bucks for affordable housing.  He kind of just waived off the "technical details", as you'll see if you go to that link and drag the scroll bar over to that mark.  It was another of his "just trust me" moments!  He talks about the owners of the Costa Mesa Motor Inn finally seeing the light, realizing that this motel model doesn't work anymore.  HE DOESN'T tell you that one of the reasons it doesn't work is because he and his majority have crafted ordinances and other rules of enforcement that have bludgeoned them into submission.  And, near the end of his little rant, he implies that he hopes other motel owners will also see the light so these "cancers" can be removed from our city.  Yeah, he used that word several times to describe long-time businesses in this city.

That's actually pretty funny when you think about it.  There are more than a few people in this town who consider him and his majority as the real cancers in this city.  They've made Costa Mesa less safe through their ignorant, vindictiveness toward public safety organizations.  They gutted what was arguably one of the most effective, professional police departments in the region by capriciously establishing an arbitrary staffing level that was 25% below previous deployment models.  They abandoned the A.B.L.E helicopter program, a force multiplier in police work and the model for ALL other municipal helicopter programs in the country.  They delayed the recruitment of officers to replace those seasoned veterans who, due to the toxic nature of their management, left for other venues or retired earlier than anticipated, which resulted in the department having to operate 20% below that already-inadequate staffing level for more than a year... and counting.  They've delayed the implementation of the Paramedic Transport Van program, even though we've spent over $1.5 million for the equipment, half of which sits unused - apparently protecting the lucrative medical transport business of a major campaign contributor.   These acts, and many, many more, are the true cancers in our city.

So, here's my solution... let the ballot box become our "chemotherapy".  Let your vote be the surgical knife that excises the cancerous growth that is the Righeimer/Mensinger/Monahan majority from our body politic.  Monahan will be termed out - evacuated from the system again like a painful kidney stone finally being passed.  Mensinger now has a body of "work" that demonstrates he is unfit for office.  It's time for this electorate to tell these guys that we're tired of their malignant mismanagement and they have to go.  It's time to shrink the tumor that has invaded our city and repair the damage done.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Geoff, you are absolutely correct. This city is bleeding money in some very strange ways. Wasn't enough that money disappeared from the 60th party, now Righeimer wants us to approve giving him millions for something he cannot explain at all. He must need more money. Don't give it to him. The debacle that was the 60th has never been explained and he tried to deflect all attempts to resolve where the money went.

We don't know anything about this committee for the homeless, we don't know who is on this committee, where or when it meets, what their goals are, what they have done, nor what they intend to do. All we know is that residents cannot be on the committee. That right there would make me vote against any approval to give him money.

And Righeimer must have balls of steel to call anyone else a cancer and expect we would just vote him a wad of money

11/05/2015 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Spot on, Geoff! The cancer in our city is the CCM, with the RIGmeister as the primary tumor. They have spread their destructive matastising tentacles through every level of our city, from our city employees to our safety personnel, from Fairview park to our neighborhoods, commercial and industrial areas, from our city's monies and to the very heart of our city, our residents. And the list goes on and on. Eleanor is absolutely right too! Can we save our city before we reach end stage? Our only chance is to remove the cancer, as the RIGmeister so unintentionally pointed out. And, WMC, no way on God's green earth, or elsewhere else, should that malfiescent sociopath be handed .20cents let alone 20 million $$ - ever!

11/06/2015 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Hmmm, let's see...Jim is a real estate developer, Steve is an apartment manager. If the bond passes, some of that money may flow to their friends/campaign contributors. If it fails, Jim and his buddy look like good guys who was thwarted by the voters. It's a win-win for him.
It is also telling that both Jim and Steve seem to think that the city is their personal fiefdom. I didn't know one person could put a bond on the ballot. But if one person can cancel a study session, I guess anything is possible.

11/06/2015 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Xyn Bohemia said...

from the cc council video: mr. righeimer says to developers, "buy these hotels" and, "i've been working on this since i was on the planning commission..." so what was it--- the calls for pd service at the hotel, the pitch to developers or the dollar VALUE of the property? or is it just a colossal cooincidance? ps we have $2,000 per hour attornys? wow... just shows how unprepared our mayor pro tem is for the repercussions of his decisions...

11/06/2015 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Anything that Riggy creates, suggests, sponsors, backs, or favors needs to be looked at very closely, because there's definitely an angle in it for him.

11/07/2015 03:10:00 PM  

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